One route to progress

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A reader on cdapress.com elicited a chuckle or two when he shared this joke at the end of a recent story about the issues local legislators are working on:

An Idaho legislator was in a bar and the Devil walked up. The Devil said, "I've got a deal for you. I will make sure you get re-elected until you die but I want you to give me your soul and that of all your family members." The legislator furrowed his brow and asked the Devil, "What's the catch?"

Not everybody's chuckling. More than a month into the session, the Idaho Legislature, 2015 edition, has already earned a roar of approval and standing ovation from citizens who are concerned about gun rights and abortion. We know these are important issues to many of the few people who actually voted in last year's legislative elections, but we also believe there must be something bigger to work on that would improve the quality of life for almost everyone in our great state. And yes, we have a suggestion.

For far too many years, Idaho's highways, bridges and other essential infrastructure have been grossly neglected because improving them would require higher taxes in some form. Charging a few cents per gallon more at the pump or funding substantial infrastructure improvements through some other tax increase have been unpalatable because "tax" is such a dirty word - but not nearly as dirty as "tax increase." However, if legislators also consider the return on investment, and not just the additional cost, we're certain they'll find compelling arguments in favor: Turbo-boosting the state's economy, providing hundreds or even thousands of good-paying jobs to Idahoans, and improving safety from Boise to Bonners Ferry, for example.

There's much for legislators and citizens to consider in this complex, expensive and highly rewarding proposition. We'll do our best to help on that front.

On Feb. 24, the North Idaho Business Journal cover story will look at the potential impact of big infrastructure investment in our region. And starting this weekend, The Associated Press will launch a year-long project on the deteriorating condition of our nation's highways and bridges, as well as possible ways to address what needs to be done.

More and better jobs, a higher standard of living for many, improved safety driving through beautiful Idaho - this seems a road the Ds, Rs and everyone in between could travel together.

Shine that light

For years, The Press editorial board has suggested that there is no more important elected office than that of school board trustee. These individuals have tremendous influence over the education of our children. What could be more important or valuable than that?

Therefore, we agree wholeheartedly with Sen. Mary Souza and the Senate Education Committee in recommending full campaign finance disclosure by those seeking school board election. Idaho is one of just three states that exempt school board candidates from this requirement.

The more information voters receive, the more informed their decisions will be.

Our vote is for more transparency.

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